Senate Democrats

Senate Democratic Leaders Invite President To Capitol Hill To Work With Congress On Changing Course In Iraq

Washington, DC–Senate Democratic Leaders today renewed their call for the President to work with Congress to ensure our troops receive the support they need, including a strategy for success.

In a letter to the President – the second in as many weeks – Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray invited the President to Capitol Hill this Friday to begin dialogue on a supplemental bill that fully funds our troops and recognizes the reality on the ground in Iraq.

The leaders expressed disappointment with President Bush’s repeated refusals to engage in meaningful discussions about the path forward in Iraq, but again expressed a willingness to work together to produce legislation that both he and a bipartisan majority of Congress could support.

Reid and Speaker Pelosi initially invited the President on March 28th to sit down and work with Congress to produce legislation that gives our troops the resources they need and a strategy worthy of their sacrifices. The President has responded thus far with inflexible veto threats.

The full text of the letter follows below.

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April 11, 2007

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As the House and Senate continue their work to produce an emergency supplemental spending bill, the escalating violence in Iraq reinforces the critical importance that we work together to produce legislation that both fully funds the troops and provides them a real strategy for success. That is why we were so disappointed yesterday to hear that you are not willing to engage in meaningful discussions with the Congress about the path forward in Iraq.

Despite your comments, we would like to renew our March 28th invitation to you to work with us to produce legislation that both your Administration and a bipartisan majority in the Congress can support. Rather than wait until next week to meet as you proposed, we would like to begin this dialogue now. Therefore, we respectfully request that you consider coming to Capitol Hill this Friday to meet with Democratic and Republican members of the United States Senate in an effort to begin bridging the differences between your Iraq policy and that supported by the Congress late last month.

As you know, Mr. President, an overwhelming and growing majority of the American people share a common view about the situation in Iraq; specifically they believe the current path in Iraq is unsustainable and a change of course is needed immediately. The latest round of Guard and Reserve call-ups, the decision to extend tours of duty for thousands of troops already deployed, and the disturbing spike in U.S. casualties nine weeks into your escalation policy all serve to reinforce the American public’s view that we urgently need a change of policy in Iraq.

Clearly what is happening in Iraq is critically important to our troops and our security. As members of co-equal branches of government, we believe we both have an obligation to meet without any preconditions and attempt to resolve our differences over your Iraq policy. That is why your current posture that the only option for Congress is to continue to rubberstamp your Iraq policy runs contrary to the views of the American people and is inconsistent with our shared constitutional obligations. We hope you agree and accept our invitation to come to Capitol Hill this Friday to begin this important dialogue.

Sincerely,

Senator Harry Reid
Senator Richard Durbin
Senator Chuck Schumer
Senator Patty Murray

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